New Thoughts on an Old Book: Student Conference on Aristotle’s “Ethics” at LSU

BATON ROUGE – Culminating a year-long program on “Millennial Classics,” Michael Pakaluk of Catholic University will headline a weekend conference, “Unfettering Philosophy: Reading Aristotle’s ‘Ethics’ in the 21st Century,” by delivering the keynote lecture on Friday, March 31, at 3:30 p.m., in Hill Memorial Library. The lecture is free and open to the public. Registration for the conference is free for undergraduate and graduate students.

Pakaluk is author of “Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: An Introduction,” as well as a translation and commentary on “Ethics” VIII and IX, books on accounting ethics and numerous articles. His anthology of philosophical essays on friendship, “Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship” helped revive interest in the philosophical study of friendship, and his groundbreaking work in accounting ethics won extraordinary recognition when in 2009 he was invited to give a seminar for the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB.

Pakaluk earned his Ph.D. with John Rawls at Harvard and taught at Clark University, Brown University and Ave Maria University, before moving to Catholic last year. In addition to his scholarly achievements, he is father to 15 children and plays the French horn.

Saturday’s conference will have three sessions, with discussions led by faculty panelists assigned the topic, “My Favorite Book in Aristotle’s ‘Ethics.’” Panels will begin at 10 a.m. and will conclude at 3 p.m. Panelists include Samuel Baker (Ph.D., Princeton), assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Alabama; Bryan-Paul Frost (Ph.D., University of Toronto), associate professor of political science at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette; Jeremy Mhire, (Ph.D., LSU), associate professor of political science at Louisiana Tech; and Rachel Parsons (Ph.D., Princeton), assistant professor of philosophy at LSU. Panels will be held at the French House, home of the LSU Ogden Honors College.

“It’s a foolish urban legend that today’s ‘millennials’ aren’t interested in reading classic texts,” said James R. Stoner Jr., Hermann Moyse Jr. Professor and director of the Eric Voegelin Institute. “Here at LSU we have several student reading groups who, on their own, have been tackling works like Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations,’ John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ and now Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics,’ and we have students coming as well from ULL and Louisiana Tech. This conference will give them a chance to hear leading scholars who have written about the books they’ve been reading and to raise their own questions and advance their own concerns.”

More information about the conference, including a detailed schedule, is available on the Voegelin Institute website. Pre-registration, which insures an available lunch on Saturday, is available to students who send their name, their email, and their academic affiliation to

The conference, and the Millennial Classics lecture series, are co-sponsored by the Eric Voegelin Institute and the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College.  The Department of Political Science is an additional co-sponsor of the conference.

The Eric Voegelin Institute, named for one of LSU’s original Boyd Professors, is a humanities and social science institute at LSU that sponsors research, lectures and conferences, publications, and teaching focused on the ideas and questions that animated Voegelin’s wide-ranging thought.

The LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Ogden Honors College provides students with a curriculum of rigorous seminar classes, as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, culminating in the Honors Thesis. Its focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research helps today’s high-achieving students become tomorrow’s leaders.




Contact Allison Howell
Ogden Honors College


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations